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Issue Details: First known date: 2008... 2008 The Eco-Centric Self and the Sacred in Xavier Herbert's Poor Fellow My Country
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Herbert's Poor Fellow My Country (1975) anticipated edgy twenty-first century national conversations about race relations and ecology currently occurring in Australia in the disciplines of history and historiography, anthropology, eco-philosophy, and literature. Set in the remote pastoral frontier of the Northern Territory in the 1930s and 1940s, the novel anatomises the genocidal practices of an encyclopaedic range of Australian institutions (political movements of the left and right, the squattocracy, the church, the law, the education and 'welfare' bureaucracies) and satirises the 'Aboriginal industry's' systematic ignorance and denigration of Aboriginal culture. The novel promotes a new kind of nationalism which incorporates Indigenous citizenry as active players. Despite its manifest flaws, its ideological hyperbole and intense pessimism, and perhaps because of its extraordinarily expansive canvas (it is longer than War and Peace) and its formal experimentation, the novelist's level of familiarity with Aboriginal culture, and his humanity are remarkable and prescient, especially in the light of current dysfunctionality in Aboriginal communities that have been systematically robbed of cultural pride. This paper looks behind Herbert's satire (tub-thumpery?) to his radical views on what Aboriginal culture and in particular its mythological understandings of land have to offer to the "common-wealth". The novel will be read in the light of contemporary post-colonially-inflected and Indigenous-centred oral history, mythology, and Australian eco-philosophy.' (Author's abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Alternative title: The Racialised Self, Ecology and the Sacred in Xavier Herbert's Poor Fellow My Country
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon JASAL Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature no. 8 2008 Z1523769 2008 periodical issue 2008 pg. 45-63
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Sacred Australia : Post-Secular Considerations Makarand Paranjape (editor), Thornbury : Clouds of Magellan , 2009 Z1771533 2009 anthology essay criticism Thornbury : Clouds of Magellan , 2009 pg. 166-187
    Note: With title: The Racialised Self, Ecology and the Sacred in Xavier Herbert's Poor Fellow My Country
Last amended 20 Apr 2011 14:43:14
45-63 http://nla.gov.au/nla.arc-63067-20090910-1633-www.nla.gov.au/openpublish/index.php/jasal/article/view/771/1168.html The Eco-Centric Self and the Sacred in Xavier Herbert's Poor Fellow My Countrysmall AustLit logo JASAL
166-187 The Eco-Centric Self and the Sacred in Xavier Herbert's Poor Fellow My Countrysmall AustLit logo
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